I hate hurricanes. I was born and raised in Texas and have also lived in Florida for several years, so I’ve dealt with these storms all of my life. Every June through November, I, along with millions of Gulf Coast residents, go into high alert. But no matter how many hurricanes you’ve experienced, you never get used to it.
Right now, we are surfing the news reports as we anxiously await the arrival of Hurricane Ike. This category 2 or 3 storm is massive and expected to be quite destructive. Ike will be the first major hurricane to hit Houston since Alicia came ashore in 1983.
The National Hurricane Center said tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph extend across 550 miles, and hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph stretch for 240 miles. A typical storm has tropical storm-force winds stretching only 300 miles. Forecasters expect Houston to experience the “dirty side” of the storm where the strongest winds and tornado threats exist.
We are grateful that our home is nearly 80 miles from the coast. Nevertheless, we will still experience 75-90 mph winds. But the our biggest problem will be the water. The storm isn’t expected to make landfall until late tonight, but the storm surge has already caused knee-deep flooding in the coastal regions and it hasn’t even started raining yet. White waves as tall as 15 feet were already crashing over Galveston’s seawall. Here are some photographs of the damage so far.
My family has “hunkered down” and we’re ready to ride out the storm. The kids are calm now, but I know they will grow more anxious as the wind and rain increase. They are terrified of thunder as it is. I don’t know what they’ll do when the thunder is accompanied by pelting waves of rain. My wife, K, and I will have to work extra hard to comfort them. I only hope they will be able to sleep through the worse of it.